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Can You Relax in My House Paperback – April 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews


"Can You Relax In My House by Michael Earl Craig is the prose poem, that hybrid form, reinvigorating the poem now, offering back its nomadic, subversive tendencies? If this debut collection by Craig is the result of such redoubled pollination, we are indeed lucky. Question mark-less title aside, there is no forced oddity here, no pretense elevating the unpredictable shock value. Craig's crafted use of line and space stabilizes the fragile worlds he creates, as does his flexible use of found forms: stage directions, monologues, letters, philosophical propositions, maxims ('... a duck cannot think straight / but this does not spoil our hopes for him.'), and blues riffs ('You were at that round table in the sun, / why did you move? I said why'd you move, / you were at that nice table, in the sun? / You were just at that table-- / I said why'd you move dammit you were in the sun?'') If these forms seem to want to go to work for Craig, perhaps it is because he has such a keen ear and eye for the delicate, sadly human predicaments these forms so naturally frame, and because his images are set as finely as rare jewels into their slightly cockeyed facets--and set they are, never crushed in a torrent of easy, indulgent surrealism. Precise and solitary images ('Pale green soapstone Buddha with a beam of light filling his head. / Sourdough pancake, with a mind of its own, much bigger than the table.') are calibrated to produce tints of the unnerving, shadowy states we barely speak of: tugs and nudges of insufficiency, shame, powerlessness solidly root. It takes enormous fidelity to one's vision and particular sensibility to produce the effects shown here. Craig animates a world we secretly share, and the tension and kilter of his poems reflect 'dreamish autobiographical thoughts' with great poise. 'I'm back and snapping/my dark cape at the edges of / our notion of complacency' the solemn, slightly threatening homesteader persona on the cover intones in 'Courageously Yours.' So, too, will readers eagerly anticipate Craig's rousing return." --Lia Purpura, The Antioch Review


" I like being in the world of Michael Craig's poems. Anything can happen, and probably will, and it will affect me in some small or large ways that I couldn't have imagined. The precision of their imagery keeps me reeling with delight." (James Tate)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 62 pages
  • Publisher: Fence Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971318913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971318915
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,730,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Mike Craig's ability to 'karate-chop' the picket fences without convention, re-lace a glassy thorax with a corset, and carry us into his talc-dusted waiting room [Borandaho,yes?] is astonishing... his [poems] are visions akin to Blake, but swing and attend to the world like Neruda. I hesitate for a moment in his lobby of 'protractions and regional artifacts', but as a great artist, he lives in the telling, and loves the world as if he sees it in some rare bird's nest, and he believes, as he confides, that the mystery still circulates in the stillness and silence of strict observation, and in the simple catastrophe of one's daily ritual with persons and objects. In imagery and amplitude, I think of Magritte, Joel-Peter Witkin, Hopper, Benton, and, at times, Francis Bacon. As far as poetry writing today, I see no other like him painting with such vibrant, honest, and unlimited scope. I carry these images with me, and often, while walking down the street, they'll jump up from nowhere and scurry back toward their fortresses.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Stewart on September 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Michael Earl Craig is one of the best new faces in the poetry scene. I read anywhere to 15-20 books of poetry a year not counting literary journals, and I can say Craig's first collection is one of the best i have ever read. I can't wait until his second collection is published.
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